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openSUSE:Board election 2013 platform rbrownccb

tagline: From openSUSE

Platform

Introduction and Biography

Me

Hi! I'm Richard Brown, 31 years old, and since last month living in Nürnberg in Germany. Originally from London, England, I used to joke that I had been steadily moving south and was on my way to becoming French, however it seems once I crossed the Channel I turned left, skipped right past France, and ended up in a land of good Beer and Bratwurst :)

I currently work as a QA Engineer for SUSE, the wonderful Enterprise Linux company that also is the main sponsor of our openSUSE Project.

Previously I worked as a Systems Manager for City College Brighton and Hove, a large UK further education college where we use a lot of openSUSE, SUSE, and other FOSS technologies. I was also the UK Representative on the Advisory Board of the TTP Academic User Group, an usergroup for sysadmins working in Academia that deals with SUSE, Novell, and NetIQ products, with good links to the developers and management teams in these companies and their partners. The TTP is very supportive of both SUSE & the openSUSE Project, and was proud to have a track of sessions during our oSC 12 conference in Prague.

I've used SUSE/openSUSE since 2003, and have found myself getting more involved as time has gone on.

I'm part of the team which maintains GNOME in openSUSE, as well as lead maintainer for the 'Branding' packages in openSUSE, which leads me to work very closely with our great Artwork team. I also am heavily involved in Marketing, as well as the Advocates & Local Coordinators Programmes, where I was involved in implementing many of the changes transforming the former 'Ambassadors' programme into its new structure.

I'm an active Advocate for our project, who regularly attends conferences where I do my best to to both evangelise about our work, but also gather ideas and feedback on how we could improve. My session at oSC 12 "Using openSUSE for Real Work" really helped gather feedback which shaped my efforts to improve our project over the last year. At oSC13 I gave talks about the transformation of the Ambassador programme into the Local Coordinator and Advocates groups, as well as a talk about the work involved in Branding openSUSE. I also led the organisation of openSUSE's presence at the last two FOSDEM conferences.

I'm a keen tester who especially enjoys the crunch in the weeks leading up to releases, frantically testing and packaging patches to try and get bugs big and small squashed out so our releases are as polished as possible. I'm also very interested in Power Management, and have done a lot of work finding ways to optimise Power consumption on Intel laptop chipsets

I spend a lot time in our IRC channels, where I go by the handle ilmehtar (a very obscure Lord of the Rings/JRR Tolkien reference, I'll owe a prize to anyone who figures it out)

I have very broad interests which finds me often getting involved in both the technical and more 'community' aspects of our project. I'm always keen to help out, try and resolve issues, come up with ideas, and then get my hands dirty trying to implement them. I'm very happy learning new things and trying to help out in areas outside of my 'comfort zone', such as this year where I was given the opportunity to join the openSUSE Board - and after a year of hard work and interesting challenges, I'm back again hoping for your votes so I can continue the work I started this year.

Issues

Managing Change - In the last few weeks the openSUSE team from SUSE have initiated a number of discussions (1), (2), (3) proposing changes to our projects goals and practical changes to our 'Factory' development distribution. Over these next few weeks and (if I am elected) into the early months of next year I intend to work hard to ensure that the discussions progress well and we, together as a cohesive project, find an exciting way forward.

I do not expect this to be a painless process, and I expect there will be occasions where some people will want things to develop in one direction, while others pull for another. This is precisely the sort of issue the Board is there to deal with, and I'm prepared to put in the work to make sure everyone can contribute to shaping the future of our Project and its Distribution(s).

Improve Working Relationship with the openSUSE Team @ SUSE - The Board have a responsibility to 'Facilitate communication with all areas of the community' - ie. We need to make sure all the Teams that make up our project have strong communication and therefore are able to work effectively with each other.

This is important for every Team in our project, but especially so for the openSUSE Team at SUSE, because not only are they contributing to openSUSE to make it better for themselves as well as everyone else, but as paid employees of our primary sponsor (SUSE) they currently control some aspects of the project the 'wider community' have little or no involvement in. As has been mentioned on our mailing lists, over the last year, the working relationship between the openSUSE Team and the Board has become strained.

I have already begun working on this issue, and if I am elected, I intend to continue to work hard to improve the situation. I think the Board can do a better job of keeping the members of the openSUSE Team informed about the current needs, wants, desires and 'pain points' of our wider openSUSE community, and inversely, I think with improved communication between us, the Board will be in a better position to help the openSUSE Team at SUSE in their communications with the wider openSUSE community. We need to squash the feeling of 'us & them' which has started to creep into that narrative, we're all one Project and one Community, and it's down to the Board to keep it that way.

openSUSE Membership - I think the Project needs to start thinking about changing the way 'openSUSE Membership' works. With our growing maturity as an independant project, it's very important that we have a healthy way of making big decisions which impact the entire Project. I do not think our current system is wholly broken (it's certainly healthy enough for these elections), but I'm concerned about a number of areas, especially the growing number of 'former Members' who maintain full voting rights. If I am elected, I intend to begin the discussions to reform the openSUSE membership, focusing first on a suitable way of 'retiring' openSUSE members who are no longer involved in the project, and after that looking at other issues such as improving the selection/approval process and the 'perks' of becoming an openSUSE member.

Role of the board

Last year, I said that I wanted the board to become more approachable and more prepared to 'step in' and help resolve issues. While I think we have been broadly successful in achieving this, there is always room for improvement, and I'm hoping will a fully staffed Board we'll be able to build on the improvements we've seen in these last 12 months.

I don't think leadership in a project like ours should be dictatorial. I feel the board should act as 'enablers', 'cheerleaders', 'champions', and troubleshooters. The board's job should be to help you (the community) by proactively identifying where the project is going wrong and help pull people together to steer it in the right direction.

The board should be the primary point of contact for contributors and users to raise issues that cant be addressed elsewhere, which is why our board needs to be active, visible, and accessible. I do not think enough of our community know the Board is there to address their issues, so I think we need to make a big push to advertise our purpose and availability.

The board should also be a source of new ideas and proposals for the community to consider, and should also encourage other contributors to field their own ideas and help keep the great green Geeko rolling forward

Why you should vote for me?

  • I've worked hard for you all as a Board member this year, and would like the opportunity to continue to do so.
  • SuSE/openSUSE is my first distribution and I've been a loyal user and contributor since 2003. I care a great deal about seeing our project continue and improve.
  • I've provided both technical and non-technical contributions to the project, and so have a strong working knowledge both the technical and community aspects of our project.
  • While I have my own opinions and will often argue passionately for them, I always listen to and consider the opinion of others, especially when they disagree with me. If I am elected I will continue to champion the desires of the community, not just my own agenda.
  • My experience outside of openSUSE, especially as a board member of the TTP, give me skills and knowledge I think will help me here
  • I enjoy learning and getting involved in new things, and see working on the board as an opportunity to get help out in parts of the project that I'd probably otherwise not see.

Aims/Goals

If elected I will strive to

  • Continue the work I've started over the last year as a Board Member
  • Investigate ways to better advertise the work the Board is doing for the project
  • Be involved in the recently started discussions about the Future of our project to find a viable plan for our Project going forward, especially one that addresses the needs of both our users desiring stability and a moderate pace of change, and for those whom using the latest and greatest stable versions is more important.
  • Listen to the our users and contributors as much as possible, to figure out what you want the Board to be doing

Endorsements

Room for your supporters to leave a word about you

Michal '-miska-' Hrusecky

I know Richard for few years and he always cared a lot about openSUSE. He is active on our channels and whenever he sees some troubles, he steps up and do his best to help the project. Not only technically but also on boring organization tasks. I can imagine, that being part of the board is a hard work although not that appreciated and visible to the outside. But nevertheless it is important for the project and I believe that Richard will continue to represent us very well. What is also great about Richard as board candidate is that he is not a classical politician - he doesn't do long speeches without content and he prefers to cut to the chase.

Bruno 'tigerfoot' Friedmann

I'm working with Richard for a few years on different aspect of openSUSE. He always deserve a medal of honor to his engagement about our Project and the tasks it take in charge. He's also a fantastic team player. He would be one of my favorite co-boarder, with your help.

Theo Chatzimichos

Richard is a very knowledgeable guy. I've seen him working on different fields, producing excellent results everywhere, and having very concrete and interesting views. His short term in the previous Board was definitely not enough, we need to give him more time to finish what he has in mind.

Jos Poortvliet

Richard has been instrumental in getting things moving in the GNOME, artwork and marketing projects. During his time on the board he worked on keeping our ambassador- and marketing programs moving forward - areas in VERY urgent need of attention (here for some stats). He has shown to passionately care about openSUSE, collaboration, our culture and how we work and think. He rocks! -- jospoortvliet

Carlos Ribeiro

Richard is not only a very well qualified person to get elected once more, but also has proven that he he is, just like Kostas, an action man. And for the Board I see that there is no better profile to be there than being a action person.

During last years he has effectively helped in some tasks that is not so easy to handle and work with like Ambassadors, Release, Marketing and Artwork

For all this reason I really satisfied to have his name once again running for the Board

irun4Richard

CarlosRibeiro